World Bank slashes Nigeria’s growth projection

This modest expansion reflects stagnant oil production, as regulatory uncertainty limits investment in the oil sector
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen through a flower bed during the IMF/ World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC on April 9, 2019. – The global economy is facing a “delicate moment,” beset with risks as the recovery loses steam amid trade tensions, Brexit and other factors, the International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)

Nigeria’s economic growth forecast for 2019 has been slashed to 2.1 percent, down from the 2.2 percent forecast made by the World Bank, last October.

The new prediction, which represents 0.1 percentage point reduction is contained in the bank’s periodical analysis of the state of African economies. The bank also cites stagnant oil production, high inflation and policy distortions as reasons for the cut in projection.

“This modest expansion reflects stagnant oil production, as regulatory uncertainty limits investment in the oil sector, while non-oil economic activity is held back by high inflation, policy distortions, and infrastructure constraints”, the report stated, adding that improving financing conditions will help boost investment as the economy’s growth is projected to rise slightly to 2.2 percent in 2020 and reach 2.4 percent in 2021.

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Due to slower growth in three of the region’s biggest economies, the World Bank also cut its growth estimates for sub-Saharan Africa as the region’s economy is forecast to recover to 2.8 percent in 2019 and 3.3 percent in 2020.

“This upturn is supported on the demand side, by exports and private consumption and on the supply side, by a rebound in agriculture, an increase in mining production, and steady growth in the services sector in some countries,” the report revealed.

The projections represent 0.5 and 0.3 percentage points lower than last October’s forecasts, respectively. It reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence.

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Furthermore, commodity prices improved in the first quarter of 2019, but according to the report, they are below their peak in 2018 and the oil market outlook remains highly uncertain. Albeit, as activity strengthens in the region’s three largest economies, regional growth is expected to improve slightly to 2.4 percent in 2021 The external environment for the sub-Saharan region remains challenging, as global growth continues to decelerate, and global uncertainty related to trade disputes between the United States and China remains high.

The global economy has seen international trade and manufacturing activity softened, trade tensions elevated, and some large emerging markets experiencing substantial financial market pressures.

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“Despite the rebound, growth in the region (Sub-Sahara) will remain well below its long-term average. However, there is significant heterogeneity in growth performances, with over one-third of the countries expected to grow at more than 5 percent in 2019 to 2021”, the report added.

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